Barton Sports Information Direct
MURFREESBORO, N.C. – The Barton College baseball team scored two runs over the final two innings of play but suffered a 6-3 loss in the 2015 season opener to Chowan University on Tuesday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
After a Calvin Hawke ground out opened the game, Barton’s Mitchell Wheeler singled to right field and Ben Williams doubled to deep right center to put runners on second and third for the Bulldogs.
Junior Matthew Berry was hit by a pitch to load the bases for sophomore Andrew Webster who drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field for a 1-0 lead in the first inning of play.
The Hawks (2-1) evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning on a solo home run from the bat of catcher Aaron Flanagan over the right field fence.
The two teams continued to be knotted at one run apiece until the bottom of the sixth inning when Chowan put together three runs on four hits and one Bulldog error in the frame.
Barton began the inning with a pitching change that was quickly followed by a triple from Hawks’ right fielder Tyler Burden into center field, followed by an RBI single from designated hitter Stephen Hux to take a 2-1 lead.
Hux was driven in on a double by Kyle Cross in the next at-bat to extend the lead to two-runs. Cross advanced to third on a one-out single from Josh Martin and was later driven in when Flanagan reach on a fielder’s choice as the scoreboard read 4-1 in favor of Chowan. The Bulldogs were able to avoid any further damage as senior right-hander Brandon Warren struck out the final two batters of the inning.
Senior Spiers Miller walked to begin the seventh inning, followed by a single from sophomore Tyler Garrett and a walk to Hawke, to load the bases with no outs. However, three straight Bulldogs struck out swinging to leave bases full and no damage done.
Chowan added its final two runs of the game to the scoreboard on a two-RBI single by Cross in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 6-1 lead.
A two-out RBI-double from Miller brought Webster across the plate in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit down to four runs as the Hawks were sat down in order in the bottom of the inning.
The final frame began with a Hawke single up the middle and a double down the left field line by Wheeler on back-to-back plate appearances. Following a groundout, Hawke scored on a passed ball but Barton was unable to gain momentum, striking out and flying out to second base in the final two at-bats, leading to the 6-3 road defeat.
Senior Zach Breen got the season-opening start for Barton, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings of work.
Left-hander Kyler Rufer pitched two innings of hitless relief, striking out four of the seven batters he faced, while Warren (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on six hits with three strikeouts in 1.1 innings on the mound. Redshirt junior Louis DeCarolis pitched the final 1.2 innings, striking out two batters in a perfect relief appearance.
Wheeler led the Bulldogs at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance, including a double and a run scored. Miller was 1-for-3 on the day with a double of his own and an RBI, while Webster drove in a run and scored one more.